Monday, October 14, 2013

TODAY'S NUGGET: Pride & Prejudice (2005) - Getting Out of a Riposte

[Quick Summary: Lizzie Bennet is pride; Mr. Darcy is prejudice. They fall in love.]

I love verbal riposte between characters.

The thrust (Beat #1) and parry (Beat #2) are fun to write.

But what about Beat #3?  (It's my downfall.)

How do you get out of the riposte, and land on a good Beat #3?

Let's take a look at several examples in this stellar script:

Ex. MRS. BENNET: How can you tease me, Mr. Bennet? Have you no compassion for my poor nerves?
MR. BENNET: You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for them; they have been my constant companions these twenty years.
MRS. BENNET: Is he amiable? [She takes a different angle.

Ex. CHARLOTTE: That is his good friend, Mr. Darcy.
LIZZIE: He looks miserable, poor soul.
CHARLOTTE: Miserable he may be, but poor he most certainly is not.
LIZZIE: Tell me. [Her appetite increases for more info.]

- DARCY: I thought that poetry was the food of love.
LIZZIE: Of a fine, stout love it may. But if it is only a vague inclination, I am convinced that one poor sonnet will kill it stone dead.
DARCY: So what do you recommend, to encourage affection? [He throws out a dare.]

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: To land Beat #3, try 
- Taking the conversation in a different direction.
- Baiting the character.
- Taking the fight to a more personal level.

Pride & Prejudice (2005)
by Deborah Moggach
Adapted from the novel by Jane Austen

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